Things to consider when making a menu?

By August 24, 2021 No Comments
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No matter how good a menu may be aesthetically if it does not sell, nor make a profit, then it is of no value to the foodservice operator. 


Ingredient 2: Making a menu


Things to consider when making a menu?


There are 9 points to remember when making a menu:

Type of customer 

Specific knowledge of customers is essential.  Identifying or defining the market sector which you are seeking to satisfy is very important.  For example, if you had a family type restaurant, the dishes that you would include on the menu are price balanced and designed for the affordability of the average family. 

Location of establishment

It has been said many times that one of the biggest factors for a successful business is location, location, location.  This adage is meant to emphasise the importance of placing a business where it is wanted and needed and is closely related to meeting the needs of the local community.  For example, a fast-food restaurant that is established close to a large university is an example of meeting the needs of that type of customer group. 

Price range

In general, the overall economic objective of all written menus is to generate some form of profit from each dish that is sold to the customer.  

Some menu dishes return a higher amount of profit, others only return the preparation cost of the dish and others actually lose money and are not profit-making whatsoever – however, all menu dishes should provide value for money to the customer.  

Customers of high price range restaurants will be less directly concerned about price, but menu choices  – and service will need to be significantly different from those in the middle price range establishments  – if customers are to believe they are receiving value for money.

Type of establishment

There will be significant variation in the type of menu and the food items incorporated in a menu for different establishments.  A student canteen, a hotel front bar and a luxury hotel restaurant will have significant menu variations.  Matching food to the type of environment is very important.

The physical capacity of your outlet 

How much food can you prepare for each mealtime, given your equipment?  What space is available for people to wait for takeaways? Do you have unused space available for expansion?  Could your present layout be improved to yield more space for seating, service, equipment?  Given the answers to these questions, what is the maximum capacity of your outlet at any one time?  

Estimated throughput 

How many times do you expect each table to be used at each mealtime? What difference in this rate will occur at weekends?  Are you operating a ‘fast-food’ outlet, a restaurant where people linger over their meal, or a mixture of both?  Is your competition full to capacity at mealtimes or only half or three-quarters full?  How many customers do they attract at other times?  What do you estimate will be your throughput between mealtimes?  Taking all these factors into account, what is the estimate of your customer throughput for the average week compared to your competitors?

Staff levels and capabilities

Any menu must be planned so that the available staff can effectively produce and serve it.  Cooks should be sufficient in skill and numbers to be able to produce the menu in the time available.  Frequently menus which have wonderful combinations of food are so complicated that the staff has neither the time nor the skill to produce the items. 

The waitstaff must also be sufficient in numbers and skill to be able to serve the menu.  It is unrealistic to plan menu items that require multiple dishes to be placed on a table for each customer in a low cost, limited-service establishment. 

Kitchen size and equipment available

A menu needs to be written in such a way that the facilities and equipment available for use are capable of producing the required quantity and quality of the product within a specified period of time.

Each potential menu item should be examined and the type and amount of equipment should then be established.  For example, a fish and chip shop would want to be equipped with several deep fryers due to the fact that it is a piece of equipment that is going to be used to service a high proportion of menu items.  

Food availability (seasonal foods)

The actual ease of acquiring food is another major consideration that must be taken into account by the menu planner.  For example, it would not be logical to offer a customer an item such as fresh asparagus when it is not readily available due to the seasonal time of year. 

Want to know more things to consider when making a menu?

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The silent salesperson – use your menu as a marketing tool.

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